When this area was settled, soon after 1685, it was part of its present neighbor, Danbury. As population grew, residents petitioned the General Assembly of the Colony for parish status and a church closer than the center of Danbury. In 1759 this was granted but the Assembly named the new parish Bethel, not Eastbury as petitioned.
The meeting house for the seventy-one members of the new Bethel Society was on the Main Street site of the present Congregational Church. Parish taxes were collected. By 1769 there were at least five schools within the Stony Hill, Plumtrees, Wolfpits, Wildcat, Center, and Grassy Plain settlements.
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In April of 1777, British troops under General Tryon passed through Bethel, on their way to burn patriot stores in Danbury. They also burned nineteen houses and a church. Militiamen under Generals Wooster, Arnold, and Silliman pursued, many spending a rainy night in Bethel. The Parish at last gained town status in 1855. The house now occupied by the Bethel Library and the Historical Society is the Seelye homestead, built in 1842. Two Seelyes were college presidents, of Amherst an of Smith. Bethel is also the birthplace of P.T. Barnum, famous showman.
Erected by the Town of Bethel
And the Connecticut Historical Commission